By Jack D. Young, Early American Coppers (EAC) ……

My third installment of this series features what would be another of a very rare variety, the “Doubled Die Reverse” 1899 Barber quarter. And I’ll again start with images of the “Dark Corner” example as follows:

Top: Slab image of AU53 coin, Bottom: Internet Image.

When this example first surfaced back in 2019 I notified a friend in the Barber Coin Collectors’ Society for his review; the following images and notes are used with permission:

The piece has a number of major problems.

First of all, the coin exhibits the luster that one would expect of the certified grade of AU53, but the sharpness of details on the devices, or lack thereof, are more representative of a much lower-grade coin. The word LIBERTY on the headband is quite mushy, and all other details of Liberty’s head and the eagle, are weak as well.

For a rare doubled-die reverse variety of a common date, one would expect the majority of focus when evaluating the coin would be on the reverse. Although the style of the reverse lettering is similar (but not identical) to the appearance of a genuine Barber quarter, the overall detail is lacking in the eagle’s claw, feathers, and the arrows, especially for a supposed AU example. The letters themselves are rounded, with no sharpness whatsoever, unlike on genuine coins.

Reverse is doubled, but lacks AU details.

However, it is really the lettering on the obverse that completely gives it away as a fake.

The lettering of the motto IN GOD WE TRUST is completely wrong and appears to be an amateurish rendition that should not fool anyone who examines it closely (see photos below).

Crude lettering, mushy LIBERTY, and leaves on the counterfeit (at top); Proper letters, sharp LIBERTY, sharp leaves on the genuine coin (at bottom).

While anyone can make a mistake, including the major grading services, this low-quality piece should never make it past experienced graders and demonstrates that despite professional grading, the collectors and dealers need to examine the coins themselves, and not just rely on a holder.

And to make this one even more controversial, although it has been reported, experts are divided whether a genuine one actually exists!

And continued research after the release of this detailed information resulted in “discovering” a second nearly identical example! This one is currently raw and in a known collection; it was brought to a major auction for review and all agreed it matched the certified example and is counterfeit as well. Efforts to get images have not been successful to date.

I have been told this “variety” is being considered for delisting; the doubling in the one example illustrated in The Complete Guide to Barber Quarters, 2nd Edition by David Lawrence is believed by most experts to be just shelf doubling and not a true doubled die reverse.

But that is for the experts to debate.

Yet, without a true genuine source example documented, this may be one of the only counterfeits created that doesn’t replicate a genuine coin, possibly created to fill the void and NOT a “counterfeit of a counterfeit” like the second “Dark Corner” installment’s 1796 No Stars quarter eagle gold coin.

And as follow-up, the cert for this one has been removed after being reported to the TPG.

Best as always,

–Jack D. Young, EAC 5050

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  1. Fantastic article! Jack, I really appreciate all of the work you’ve done over the years to document and expose the ongoing counterfeit issues. It’s tremendously important work to keep the hobby alive and healthy.


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